In Buddhism, is the existence of "God" accepted, or not? If not, what is the reason?


3 Answers 3


Within the Tripitaka, the oldest and most authentic memories of the Buddha's words, the Essential God, or simply Essence, is neither affirmed nor denied. This is explained in The All Embracing Net.


Metaphysical positions can never be more than speculation. The Essential Form that God needs to either Be or Not-Be is simply not evident within our empirical domain, nor within the domain of reason and logic. Mathematics even forbids Essential Truth within all formal systems:


If you read Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, the deeply logical discussion of the Buddha's message, Essence within our empirical experience is denied evidence.

The Buddha was careful not to speculate beyond where perception and evidence were possible. Because if God Is (and all the mess that option 2 entails for him in Plato's Parmenides), and He Is beyond reach of our empirical experience, Independent of all of this, then we are like the man looking for the most beautiful woman in the land:


(this is not an affirmation of Not-Being, Nihilism of any sort)

The theoretical insight of the Buddha is now merging with scientific evidence with regards to the absence of Essence within experience. Background independence, conservation laws, flatness of local space time, even relational quantum mechanics, all point to a much more profound understanding of all this:


If you are curious how modern philosophy approaches the Buddha's message, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/buddha/#NonSel is interesting!


It depends on what you mean when you say "God" and "exists". In Buddhism all entities (objects) are abstractions or models, conceptual labels on top of mind-made constructs. So all things really exist in one sense, but don't really exist in another sense. God is like that too. If by God we mean "The Absolute" then it in one sense it obviously exists (since everything is included in it) but then in another sense The Absolute is just an abstraction so it doesn't really exist. It certainly exists as concept or model in our mental world.

  • On point answer!
    – Theravada
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 3:34

In Buddhism, is the existence of "God" accepted, or not? If not, what is the reason?

"God" has many meanings depended on what religious or cultural context this word referred to. Yet to make it simple, God, as a being who is in a higher ranking than man, does exist, in Buddhist teaching. The Christian God, and Brahma, both exist, so are many of those mentioned in different cultures.

In Buddhist teaching, there are many worlds and many forms of beings, which mainly categorized into 6 groups: 1. Celestial beings (they are gods; beings who accumulated great merits almost subdued greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, distrust but still controlled by desire) 2. Asuras (some may call them devils, demons; the beings who accumulated great merits but are deeply grabbed by anger and arrogance) 3. Men 4. Animals 5. (hungry) Ghosts 6. Hell beings. The Celestial beings (sometimes Asuras) many cultures referred to as gods. They have more abilities due to their subduing of contamination (the 5 main pollutants that hindered one's abilities: greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and distrust). Thus they can exhibit supernatural powers such as being able to alter weather, turn stone into gold, etc. And of course they have clarity of vision they can see anything from any distance and be in any place in a blink of seconds, etc. And their body material is a different made from man, we cannot see them, and depends. Some of the gods such as Indra and Brahma (one is called "Conch-tufted Brahma" because of His hair style??) are mentioned in some of the sutras, they were audiences in the Buddha's sermons or pledged to uphold the teachings. Often said that Indra is the God in Christian faith however this is just one of the sayings.

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